Bottom Feeders: George Zimmerman and sea cucumbers…
So if I, like George Zimmerman, just identify myself as a white man fearing for my life will I be afforded all the benefits thereof? This is essentially what George Zimmerman appears to be doing (and getting away with besides) as he shoots a black teenager, hides trial funds raised online from his lawyer while pleading poverty under oath and ends up having his violent propensities justified as self-defense. All because he saw a black kid wearing a hoodie in his neighborhood…
In this way, I realize that George Zimmerman is like a sea cucumber. A sea cucumber is not an actual cucumber, he is an echinoderm (marine life forms characterized by a hard spiny covering and a calcite skeleton) related to the starfish and sea urchin that when threatened by an enemy “will often eject long, sticky threads from its body to entangle its enemy” (Animal Planet). Or in George Zimmerman’s case, eject bullets from your gun.
There’s even a species of sea cucumber, the California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) that eats with its butt. Not having lungs the California sea cucumber’s cloaca, located at the end of its intestinal tract, pumps gallons of water through its system relying on its internal respiratory trees to oxygenate its cells. It uses its anus as a second mouth! Kinda like George Zimmerman when he lied about all that money he was raising for his defense.
So as the sea cucumber only plays at being a cucumber, George Zimmerman likes to play at cops and robbers, passing himself off as a law enforcement figure (or maybe too much like the real thing?) and wreaking all kinds of havoc and mayhem on other people’s lives. At least the sea cucumber doesn’t do that.
The times I’ve eaten sea cucumber were while I was living with my mom and dad in Korea. Whether at a “Chinese” restaurant or ordering take out, my parents liked to order this dish. This version below has pork balls added to it while the dishes we ordered did not.
Braised sea cucumber (해삼탕)
2 cups soaked sea cucumber
1/2 lb ground pork
2 bamboo shoots
5 oak mushrooms
5 leaves napa cabbage
ginger, garlic, green onions, beaten egg, Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, corn starch, wine, beef broth
1. Cut cucumbers into bite size pieces to make 2 cups.
2. Add 2 stalks of green onion, 2-3 slices of ginger, 1 tbs wine to 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add sea cucumbers. Boil for 5 minutes and drain.
3. Make balls with the pork by adding 1 tsp salt, 2 tbs beaten egg and 1 tsp ginger juice and mix well. Add 1 tbs corn starch and mix. Make 8-10 balls and fry. Don’t worry about making them perfect.
4. In a hot wok add a little oil and stir-fry sliced bamboo shoots and mushrooms, add cabbage leaves cut into one inch pieces. Remove the vegetables when done.
5. Add 2 tbsp oil into the wok and fry 2 tsp chopped garlic. Then add 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce, mix well. Add 1 tbsp wine, boil and then add 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sugar and stir. Add 1 cup of broth and bring to a boil then add sea cucumbers, pork balls, and cornstarch liquid (mix 1 tbsp corn starch with 1 tbsp water) and bring to a boil again.
6. Turn off the heat and drizzle with sesame oil before serving.
This recipe is taken from Chang Sun-Young’s great cookbook and even though I’ve cooked a lot from her book, I don’t know about this one…but please don’t let that stop you from trying it!
And here’s her good advice on how to buy and prep sea cucumbers:
When you buy dried sea cucumbers, choose black ones with pointed warts. Smooth skinned ones are tasteless.
She also advises you soak the cucumbers before bringing to a boil and then:
Wait until the water cools and see if [they] have become soft enough for cutting. Slit the sea cucumbers lengthwise and clean them of innards and mud. Soak the cleaned sea cucumbers in fresh water and boil. Let cool and boil again in the same water. Repeat until they soften, removing those which softened first and keeping them in cold water.
Not sure why you have to “let cool and boil again” but if Chang Sun-Young says to do it that way then I would do it that way.